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How I Blended Personal History With The Fantastical To Write A Children's Book Jacqueline Wilson Loves

Jasmine Richards, the founder of Storymix, an inclusive fiction studio focusing on ensuring that all children are represented, approached me about writing sample chapters for a potential book for young readers in February 2021.

She showed me a pitch deck which was an outline of the project, alongside her inspirations. As soon as I read about four children who live in a children’s home and team up with a Black knight from the times of King Arthur to overthrow a deadly fae (fairy) plot, I knew this was a project I wanted to be a part of.

Part of Jasmine’s inspiration had been Lucy Bland’s book, Britain's Brown Babies, which tells the factual account of the brown babies born to white women and Black American GIs in the Second World War. Lucy tells the history of around 2,000 babies, half of whom were given to children’s homes, like Holnicote House in Somerset, because the American army banned the white women from marrying their Black boyfriends. At the time, many US states still had laws forbidding interracial marriage.

I couldn’t believe that there was an entire area of history that I had never heard of! I love history, and my first published book, Son of the Circus, had Pablo Fanque, the first Black circus owner in Victorian Britain, as one of the main characters. I’d also written a child-friendly version of Mary Prince’s autobiography, so I’ve always had an interest and passion in blending historical truth with fiction.